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MSJDN supports military spouses by:
- Advocating for licensing accommodations, including bar membership without additional examination,
- Providing education about the challenges facing military families,
- Encouraging hiring military spouses, and
- Providing a support network.
- MSJDN includes military spouses and partners from all branches of the United States Military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy as well as spouses of retired service members and legal and military organizations who support our mission.
Military Families are geographically insecure, moving every two to three years, often with tours overseas. These moves are based on the needs of the U.S. government, and are mandatory for the service-member. Although the spouse and children may technically refuse to move, this causes obvious hardships on families already often separated by deployments.
Attorneys are required to be licensed in each state where they practice. Licensing can take up to a year, sometimes more, for the application, character and fitness review, bar examination, and processing. Licensing can cost $4,000 to $5,000 each time for preparation materials and fees. All gaps in employment must be justified on bar applications and can cause delays in admission.
What this means for our Members
It is not unusual for our members to have taken 3 or 4 different bar examinations. Less than 1/3 of MSJDN members have full-time legal employment. Half of MSJDN members are unemployed and actively looking for work, under-employed in non-attorney positions as paralegals/secretaries, or can only find part-time work. MSJDN members report that the biggest challenge to finding and keeping employment is frequent moves and lack of portable employment opportunities.